The crew of 41-24635 on return from the 4 May 1943 mission to the Ford and General Motors plants at Antwerp, Belgium.
Left to Right:
S/Sgt Willam C. Mulgrew, Ball Turret Gunner;
S/Sgt Richard C. Fortunak, Left Waist Gunner;
T/Sgt Roman R. Zaorski, Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner;
S/Sgt Murel A. Murphy, Right Waist Gunner;
Captain Robert J. Yonkman, Bombardier;
Lt. Colonel William A. Hatcher, Co-Pilot (CO of the 351st Bomb Group);
Captain William R. Calhoun, Pilot;
1st Lt Joseph M. Strickland, Navigator;
T/Sgt Charles R. Terry, Radio Operator;
S/Sg Willard W. Stephen, Tail Gunner;
Captain Clark Gable, Top Gunner.
(Official USAAF photo)
A bomber crew of the 303rd Bomb Group with their new B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Eight Ball II".
Image stamped on reverse: 'Copyright Planet News.' [stamp], 'Passed for Publication 23 Dec 1942.' [stamp] and '239808.' [Censor no.]
Printed caption on reverse: ''Photo shows:- Five members of the Fortress crew who each shot down a F.W.190 before having to bale out, photographed in front of their new 'plane "Eight Ball II". They are ( left to right):- Lieut. Robert L. Yonkman ( from Grand Rapids, Michigan)., Lieut, Joseph Strickland ( from Liberty, Miss)., T.Sgt Roman Zaorski ( from Pittfield, Mass.), S.Sgt William C. Mulgrew ( from Brooklyn, N.Y.)., and S/Sgt W.W.Stephens ( from Spokan?, Washington G, December, 1942. PN-S.'
Press caption for image series: ‘FORTY FOUR FIGHTERS DESTROYED IN US AIR FORCE RAID ON ROMILLY-SUR-SEINE. Pilot and Co-pilot crash-land Fortress after remainder of crew bale out. Thrilling stories are now being revealed of the big raid on the air park at Romilly-sur-Seine, when Fortresses and Liberators fought their way to and from the target through swarms of enemy fighters. Forty Four of the Nazi planes were destroyed in the air for the loss of six bombers, in some of the fiercest air battles of the war. One of the Fortresses - named “Eight ball” piloted by Capt William R Calhoun, of Birmingham, Alabama, with co-pilot Eugene A. Romig - although badly damaged and riddled by flak managed to struggle back to England, where owing to the danger of an immediate crash the pilot ordered the crew to bale out. Eight men - five of whom are credited with each destroying one Focke Wulf during the return- baled out while Capt. Calhoun and Major Romig continued to earth, finally succeeding in making a crash landing. All the men escaped serious injury and will shortly form the crew of “Eight Ball II”. Blanket caption for Romilly-sur-Seine raid.’
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester visit an Eighth Air Force base to see a B-17 Flying Fortress (BN-O, serial number 41-24635) nicknamed "The Eightball Mk II" of the 359th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Photo From 56FG? Taken at their base? Duchess of Gloucester (& Duke) look over 124635 BNO Eight Ball.'
A B-17F Flying Fortress (BN-O, serial number 41-24635) nicknamed "The Eight Ball Mk. II" of the 359th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'B-17F Marrakech 1944.'
Staff Sergeant W.W. Stephens a tail gunner of the 303rd Bomb Group admires the emblem "Ace Hi" painted on the tail of his B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Eight Ball II." Passed for publication 23 Dec 1942. Printed caption on reverse: 'Photo Shows:- S/Sgt. W.W. Stephens (from Spokane, Washington) admires the emblem "Ace Hi" painted on the tail of the new "Eight Ball II." after his return. He had the master trump when he shot down a F.W. 190 during the raid. G, December, 1942. P.N.-s.' On reverse: Planet News Ltd, US Army Press Censor ETO and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps].
Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-O] New Castle 6/10/42; Molesworth 21/11/42. Flown by Captain William R. Calhoun on the 4 May 1943 mission to the Ford and General Motors works, Antwerp, Belgium, with Clark Gable on board for his first mission (slighly damaged by 20mm cannon shells by German fighters, returned safely back to England. 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 7/4/44; Returned to the USA Patterson 6 July 1944. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Albuquerque, New Mexico 2 August 1945.
The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...
Military | Technical Sergeant | Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
Orginally assigned with the 92BG at Bovingdon, UK as an Aerial Gunner with the rank of Sergeant. He flew his first mission (and the only one with the 92BG) on 21-Oct-42.
Military | Colonel | Pilot; Operations Officer; Commanding Officer | 303rd Bomb Group
Born 10 Nov 1919 Birmingham, AL, BA Degree Stanford Univ.
Military | Colonel | Squadron Commander | 303rd Bomb Group
Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 44 x missions.
Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
24-Jun-42 Assigned as Navigator of B-17F 41-24561 [BN-T] "The Dutchess", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "the Dutchess".
Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
1-Jul-42 Assigned as a Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 [BN-O],"The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico and arrived aboard that aircraft at Molesworth, UK on 21-Oct-42.
Military | Major | Cameraman, Gunner, Actor | 303rd Bomb Group
Clark Gable flew 5 missions as Captain filming 50,000 ft of gunnery combat during 1943. He received the Air Medal for his service. 1 mission was flown with the 303rd BG. The rest were with the 351st BG in different aircraft. The film was named 'Combat...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
Assigned as an Aerial Gunner on B-17F 41-24608 [BN-S] "Yahoodi", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico and arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard that aircraft, the first B-17 of 303BG to arrive in England. He did not fly any missions with ...
Military | Colonel | Co-Pilot; Pilot; Group Commanding Officer | 351st Bomb Group
William Hatcher Jr was born in Grand Rapids, was brought up in Detroit’s north end and attended Northern High School. After his enlistment in the Air Corps, he followed pilot training courses and rose rapidly through the ranks.
Military | Technical Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
22-Jun-42 Assigned as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner on B-17F 41-24605 (BN-R) Knock-out Dropper", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico. Arrived as Molesworth, UK aboard that aircraft on 22-Oct-42. Mission participation (See Biography...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group
Robert McGuire served as a radio operator with the 358th Bomb Squadron of the 303rd Bomb Group, flying missions out of Molesworth, England.
17 April 1943
The largest mission to date, 117 B-17s, are despatched to bomb the primary target of the Focke-Wulf Aircraft factory at Bremen, Germany: 91BG (32); 303BG (29); 305BG (28) and 306BG (26). The German Luftwaffe is learning fast and mounts a fierce and...
4 May 1943
The Ford and General Motors vehicle plants at Antwerp, Belgium are the primary target for this mission. 79-B-17 are despatched 91BG (25); 303BG (27) and 305BG (27). 65 0f the 79 despatched are effective on the target. There is moderate flak and fighter...
Military site : airfield
Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...
Not yet known